Is there room to negotiate starting salary on a union job?

I had a great interview today for a university position. It’s a classified staff position with a stepped pay scale, but the starting salary is really low. I’m not sure if there’s any wiggle room in this situation as there would be in a non-union job. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Typical union wages have a sliding scale, for example “Starting wage 2,300-2,800 per month”.

If that’s not there, then you might be stuck with whatever wage was offered. I’d certainly call them and ask.

Depends on the union. Call and ask.

There may be a sliding scare which you can negotiate your placement on the grid. For instance I have been a Registered Nurse for 13 years, different employers will start me at different spots (oh you haven’t been here before, back to step 1, or well we are looking for someone with more experience in mental health, we will put you at step 4 to reflect some of your work.) Its usually a bit of a game and expect to be toyed with a bit.

My most recent hirings in BC put me at top spot on the grid, where I should be. (There are nine increments) I was very pleased not to have to argue my step.

So, I don’t know, hopefully you have experience that can help you within your range?

Once you get the job offer, they’re not going to rescind if you ask if salary is negotiable. Just ask, “Is there any wiggle-room in the pay or benefits?” Perhaps there is no wiggle-room for pay, but you might be able to finagle some extra paid time off, or a higher employer contribution to your 401k, or something. And even if there is no wiggle room in anything, they’re not going to rescind the offer just because you asked.

Just ask! =)

At most Union Universities, base pay is Union negotiated, usually no wiggle room. However, you can get supplementary pay on top of the base, which can be substantial (more than base in many cases).

This is usually done for faculty with grants etc… I have never heard of it for staff. However, doesn’t hurt to ask.

I’d echo this.

My union has no problem with people who negotiate up; our contracts are written to specifically state that rates shown are minimums, not absolutes. If an employer values a particular person’s work enough to want them around, they are free to pay that person enough to ensure that they continue working for them.

Even if the pay rates aren’t negotiable, you might be able to negotiate where on the scale you start. If you have any experience at all (even educational) that applies, use that to argue that you shouldn’t start at the bottom.

Yes, this is exactly what I’m hoping to do, start a few steps higher than the lowest “starting” wage. I do have direct and valuable experience, and it sounds like consensus is that it really can’t hurt to ask. Thanks for the advice everyone, wish me luck.

Ask the person in the dept that hired you for help also. HR might not be inclined to start you at higher “step”, but person who wants to hire you might lobby for you, or have the dean/chair of dept do so.

HR can be very narrow minded applying criteria for related experience/education.

The other thing that they can do sometimes is agree to earlier (than annual) review so you can bump up sooner.